The last two days of raycing, July 17th and 18th has been the third stage of the American Solar Challenge. This stage began in Ann Arbor Michigan and ended in Normal, IL. It has been quite the exciting trip, and as its the best place to begin, from the beginning.
The day began beautifully. Ann Arbor was a wonderful town with a bunch of crazy people excited about solar technology and vehicles. We had breakfast courtesy of Black & Veatch, and began the day at 9:04, in accordance with our fifth place position as of the day before. We started out to some issues with our battery ventilation, and fell back a few positions. While dealing with that issue, several teams passed us, as it was so close to the beginning. We spent the rest of the day traveling at 35 miles per hour, which we’ve discovered to be our “steady state speed” over the past few days. We can travel, given good weather, at 35 miles per hour forever. The day proceeded, getting steadily warmer, and we were driving steadily farther. Before we knew it, we were 150 miles down the road, and arriving in Kalamazoo, the home of Western Michigan University, and our new friends, the Sunseeker Solar Vehicle Team. Plus it was over one hundred degrees. A quick hour of charging, impound and lunch and we’re back on the road at 4:08, the ninth team to pull out of the checkpoint that afternoon.